Oak Point Associates designed a new Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 5 elementary school for the City of Portland as part of the State of Maine Department of Education’s Major Capital Construction Program. The 85,000 sf facility is designed to house 558 students.
The former Hall School was located within a residential neighborhood near Nason’s Corner, on a 21.5-acre site adjacent to Capisic Brook. The site has a significant amount of wooded area within its bounds. The school utilized the natural environment for both play and learning, and it was important to retain those features at the new facility. The building footprint was designed around two significant existing trees that the Building Committee wanted to retain. The district desired to construct the new school on the same parcel, but adjacent to the existing building in order to not have to temporarily relocate during construction. Therefore, the construction phasing had to be carefully orchestrated.
The new, 2-story school houses administrative functions as well as classrooms, small group learning spaces, gymnasium, cafeteria, and finishing kitchen. The school is separated into areas of public spaces (gymnasium and cafeteria) and educational spaces with the ability to secure the educational sections of the building during public events. In order to ease congestion during drop-off and pick-up times, a new access road for parents and staff was constructed on the southern part of the site. A large playground provides both traditional and natural play and learning spaces adjacent to Capisic Brook and the Portland Trails network.